Thursday, 31 August 2017

A poem by Julie Hogg


It’s funny, malaising emulsion
trying to stick around a handle

and it’s not the paint, acclimate
situation or anyone’s fault, it’s

an awkward guest wearing her
black gold mourning ring as an

aubade, solvent and silica for so
long, paler, carried out on paper,

disparate simple chromatography
ternary after ternary after ternary,

a discrete colloid city in the dark,
a little vocabulary abraded apart,

disparate simple chromatography
ternary after ternary after ternary

fluorescein, malachite, rhodamine.

Julie Hogg is a Poet from Teesside with work published in many literary journals and anthologies, most recently, ‘Writing Motherhood,’ from Seren. Her debut collection, ‘Majuba Road,’ is available from Vane Women Press.

Monday, 28 August 2017

A poem by Jenni Gribble

The Getaway Gal

The getaway gal grew up wanting money, 
ever-changing her formal attire, 
her bath products.

Dancing for him now, in fact, her society is
quick, convenient, English-speaking--
Relax and enjoy, King Antonio.

Her full routine over-cleanses, gently hydrating 
the tradition of a thousand years.

When spotlights flood her little theater, 
the Mexican market, 
her cream pamper skin,
she will massage away her makeup 
and buy a trailer,

careful always to personalize her wifi meals.

And do-gooders will beat the ground, 
bone on bone, 

Kids will run down booster stops, 
floozies will fly.

Fly, floozy, fly.

Jenni Gribble’s poems have been published in several print and online publications, including Anima and the Kentucky State Poetry Society’s journal, Pegasus.  When she is not teaching English or writing poetry, she likes to run long distances.  She currently lives in Salado, Texas.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

A poem by Julia Webb


my halphead’s gone
I cannot fly him away my love
to the placid where he was borne
o fly my pretty pretty
he overnighted else the moon
fall from the tainted sun
opening out his day-shone eyes
my halphead my one of light
now in the only only mind
perhaps be back a little long
late of the day overs
he be blind sore love
he be weather-fingered
delighting in the pale
of the after after
my halphead’s gone
I looky later in lane bags
all down-up-down the road-bys
he jiggered straight out
with a nodular and a blithe
my halphead’s in his coat
all pample city over there
awaying his delicate home

Julia Webb is a graduate of The University of East Anglia's poetry MA. In 2011 she won The Poetry Society's Stanza competition. She is a poetry editor for Lighthouse. Her first collection Bird Sisters was published in 2016 by Nine Arches Press. She is working on her second collection. She lives in Norwich where she teaches creative writing.

Monday, 21 August 2017

A poem by David Hanlon

TV in the background

He tries to speak up—
but he is TV in the background,
channel switched constantly
by inattentive children,
looking hard
for nothing,
but still they tap thumbs:
click, rapid, rickety,
with bubble-gum enthusiasm.

They clutch the remote control tightly,
much tighter than they notice,
tighter than anyone notices.

What’s on the screen doesn’t matter—

tearjerker, comedy, game show, reality;

any one is worthy of back-up atmosphere,
momentary focus to fill a silence
or two. Then switch.

Switch. Switch. Switch. Static.

David Hanlon is from Cardiff in Wales. He has a degree in Film studies and is currently embarking on a course to further his studies in training to become a Counsellor. He believes his experience of reflective journal writing for his Counselling course has influenced his recent poetic endeavour in which his writing incorporates the personal and emotional. He also writes humorous poems and flash fiction and over the past year has begun to perform his work at local open mic nights. He is passionate about modes of personal expression and also enjoys the intricate rhyming involved in wordplay.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

2 poems by Charlotte Barnes

Observations from inside a coffee shop

They swap snapshots of once-removed offspring,
Beaming: ‘Look what my child made!’ Newborns,
Grandmothers still finding their feet with holding babies
But not changing nappies, they pass Polaroids around
Like they are local currency. Helen, recently bereaved,
Never conceived and now she excuses herself, takes
Their orders for tea and asks who fancies a scone.
‘I can manage,’ she says. ‘My treat, dears, I’ll pay.’
Helen is learning how to live life on her own.

The table is merely a prop that prevents them from pawing
At each other in public. Their pubic bones have crushed
Into each other so frequently that for one, the other feels
Like home – and to be so far apart makes them feel alone,
But public decency frowns upon public displays of lust
In coffee shops, and so they stop at intertwined fingers.
Their stares linger, and she says: ‘We’ll put people off
Their cups of tea.’ He laughs, tells her that she’s wrong –
I swallow the urge to lean over and tell her that she’s right.

Charlotte Barnes is a Worcester (UK) based writer and poet who is currently working towards her Doctorate degree in Creative Writing and English Literature. While Charlotte’s academic endeavours have seen much of her focus rest on writing prose, she is now working to nurture her poetry alongside this, both on the page and on the stage, in her efforts towards performance poetry. Charlotte’s general interests are tea-drinking, cake-eating, and book-reading.

Monday, 14 August 2017

A poem by Maria Stadnicka

Mozart in Nairobi

The citizenship lessons, on Wednesdays afternoon,
end at three o’clock
with a Mozart concerto, live broadcast
from our detention centre.

The outer heavy traffic,
the rain washing the roof tops across Nairobi
penetrate the walls –
a sharp, urgent, high-pitched cry.

The ants come to light, across the border,
through a crack in the wood.
Perfect day for unattended prayers.

Maria Stadnicka is a writer, freelance journalist and lecturer. She worked as a radio and TV broadcaster, presenter and editor in chief for Radio North-East, TV Europa Nova and Radio Hit and was a member of the literary group Club 8, Romania. She is member of Stroud Writers Group since 2011.


Thursday, 10 August 2017

A poem by Michelle Reale

Buona Domenica

My small fingers broke the box-shaped dirt, revealing delicate, thread-like roots.  My father knelt beside me.  I pressed the orange marigold roots into the dirt he’d prepared. He  blessed himself then touched my forehead. It left a smudge that I was proud of.  Clouds moved across the sun while my father continued to dig. I had moved on, not far from him.  I chalked the sidewalks, drawing arterial roots to somewhere I didn’t yet know existed.   My father said I had cartography in my blood. When he held the crushed leaves of a marigold under my nose, I knew that somehow, we had breached arbitrary frontiers.  Smells like pepper, no?  He brushed the dirt from his knees and held his hand out to me.  We smelled the garlic hitting the oil from my mother at the stove, inside. The wind carried more than sound.  My father told me how roots were so fragile, can break so easily. It took me years to understand. I read the future in the lines carved into the back of his sun-browned skin.  We held a willing suspension of belief as long as we could.  Basked in the kind of radiance that came from speaking out of turn, in the immediacy of a moment sharp as cut glass.  It was the only language we knew.

Michelle Reale is an Associate Professor at Arcadia University. She holds an MFA in poetry and is the author of five collections and the forthcoming The Marie Curie Sequence from Dancing Girl Press. She has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. 

Monday, 7 August 2017

A poem by Tanya Simone Simpson

Things We Don't Talk About

cracking with cold
you, broken and beautiful
i remember the nights when i read you out loud

you, firing memories as missiles
dripping with honesty
these questions will never be still

you, lying awake in my arms
flickering eyelashes slicing my chest
your secrets, my sevens, our laundry and losses

blood-let and branded
you, chasing absolution at 4am
and me, drowning in my wishing well

Tanya Simone Simpson is a writer and photographer living in Edinburgh with a tall man, a small cat and an albino axolotl with a double-barrel surname. Fuelled by coffee and an obsessive nature, Tanya has been writing poetry, fiction and autobiographical over-share since forever. More words and pictures can be found at

Thursday, 3 August 2017

3 poems by Kitty Coles

Snow Fell

grimly, unstoppably. I watched it fall,
imagining February '63,
the great freeze of that winter,
whiteness, whiteness, and filth
where whiteness soiled and churned to slush.

This was a dream, and in the dream
I thought the words 'snow fell'
would open my great novel,
in which I fictionalised my dream experience
as the biographer of Sylvia Plath,
living through winter, writing about her
in other winters, writing, wintering.

I watched the snowfall from a leaded window.
The house was very tall.
Pedestrians appeared the size of fieldmice.
There was a postbox
and they struggled to it,
wearing red scarves that bloomed
like hothouse flowers.
Everything else was monochrome, ice-hard.

There was a demon living in the house,
wearing a woman's shape,
a cardigan. I'd thought she was
my friend, till she confided
that she'd killed Sylvia Plath,
and smiled at me,
saying she shared
this revelation with me
so I'd include it in my upcoming book
and cause shockwaves
across the writing world.

Kitty lives in Surrey and works as a senior adviser for a charity supporting disabled people. Her poems have appeared in magazines including Mslexia, Iota, Obsessed With Pipework, The Interpreter's House, The Frogmore Papers and Envoi. She is one of the two winners of the Indigo Dreams 2016 Pamphlet Prize and her debut pamphlet, Seal Wife, will be published in August 2017.

First published on 02/02/2017

The Pain

Drops from on high, sudden as an inkblot,
seeps its Rorschach fingers through clear water.

It stirs and churns, dark birds against pale sky.
Its bills come into play, its eager claws.

It creeps my bones like insects, like an army.
It colonises, takes up residence.

It spreads its roots, weighs anchor, builds a nest,
flooding the limbs like lava or like blood.

I wear it like a coat. It wraps me tight
and blankets me in dark for days and days.

Like ivy, it winds me with creeping arms.
It feeds itself on me, grows sleek and fat,

a kraken-squid breaking the ocean's surface,
claiming my territory as its own.

Kitty lives in Lightwater, Surrey, and works as an adviser for a charity supporting disabled people. She has been writing since she was a child and her poetry has appeared in magazines including Mslexia, Iota, Obsessed With Pipework, The Interpreter's House, Frogmore Papers and Ink Sweat and Tears.

First published 21/07/2016


You were the best of all my progeny,
chip of my soul, a sprite of fire and air.
I watched you grow, I taught you how to be,
believed you pure as the breath I made you with,
blood of my blood, eyes wet with my own tears,
gave you my hair and nails, dear voodoo imp.

It was from love for you I turned you loose.
You bayed for freedom and I set you free
to scuttle like a leaf down night-time streets.
I feared the wind would blow you in the river,
feet stomp you flat, a starved cat gulp you down,
but set my fears aside to please you, heart-mouse.

Now you're full grown, o how you disappoint me!
You're dirty faced and pick up dirty habits.
Your words are scraped from gutters, dregs of bottles.
You strut like a cock on a muckheap, crow and cackle.
You're red of wattle, feet scabby as a pigeon's,
rat-toothed and greedy, muncher of old peelings.

Your clothes are heavy with ribbons, tawdry sequins,
you seize in your magpie fists and scarper with.
Your nails grow long and click like a dog's
as you beetle up walls, through windows,
in search of gewgaws. The sound of them scares
decent people indoors, closing their curtains.
O ram of many horns, o mucky baby,
o bull-bellied roarer, o my nasty pet!